Cartoonists have the gift of depicting even the banalities of life with a calm élan. For them bringing out a smile on the faces of readers, even in the most unlikely of circumstances, is as effortless as cake walk. India has been gifted with many such talented folks and they have been loved and adored by people for several decades. Look at ‘The Common Man’ of R.K Laxman for instance; every Indian loves what his common man has to say! So here is a look at the top 10 renowned Indian cartoonists.
Harish Chandra Shukla whose pen name is Kaak is the foremost Hindi language cartoonist in India. His pen name in English means crow which, according to popular belief, is a bird that makes horrible squawking sounds when someone lies. He has worked with all leading Hindi dailies like Jansatta, Navbharat Times, Dainik Jagran, Rajasthan Patrika, and others. He was born in 1940 in Uttar Pradesh and has had praise worthy career spanning several decades.
Sudhir Dar is an Indian cartoonist of Kashmiri descent. His works have been gracing several newspapers in a career spanning several decades. He began his career with The Statesman in 1960 after which he moved to Hindustan Times. He worked as a freelancer after his stint at Hindustan Times from where he resigned in anger when he felt his freedom was being curtailed. His cartoons have also appeared in The Independent, The Pioneer, Delhi Times, New York Times, Washington Post and Saturday Review among others.
Abu Abraham is an Indian cartoonist who drew under the pen name of Abu. He was born in 1924 in Kerala and lived a life as an atheist and rationalist up until his death in 2002. With a career spanning four decades he has worked for several national and international newspapers. The Bombay Chronicle, Shankar’s Weekly, Blitz, Tribune, The Observer, The Guardian, and The Indian Express are some of the newspapers graced by his work.
O. V. Vijayan was an Indian author and cartoonist best known for his novel Khasakkinte Itihasam. He was an important figure in modern Malayalam literature and also belonged to the ‘second generation’ of editorial Indian cartoonists in. His book of cartoons called Ithiri neramboke, Ithiri Darshanam (A Little Pastime, A little Vision) was published in the year 1990.
Vijay Narain Seth (pseudonym Vins) is a well-known Indian cartoonist and illustrator. He considered Mario Miranda as his mentor and was also the first Indian cartoonist to be appointed in Reader’s Digest magazine. His works are part of a permanent collection at the International Cartoon Museum and the Karikatur & Cartoon Museum in Basel, Switzerland. His works have appeared in several newspapers and publications around the world.
India’s famous cartoonist at an international level is Paresh Nath. The chief cartoonist for India’s National Herald, he is the first Indian to receive multiple awards from the United Nations’ former secretary general Kofi Annan for best political cartoons. Nath’s cartoons are syndicated by the New York Times and Cagle, and published in more than a hundred countries. Presently, he is a cartoonist working for the daily newspaper Khaleej Times, published in English in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates since 2005.
Mario Miranda was another hugely popular and respected cartoonist in India. He was born in 1926 and passed away in the year 2011. Based out of Loutolim in Goa, he was posthumously awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2012. His works appeared in The Times of India, The Economic Times and other Mumbai-based dailies. But it was his works published in The Illustrated Weekly of India that got him the accolades he deserved.
R. K. Laxman is probably the most distinguished cartoonist, illustrator, and humorist from India. Born in 1921, he is the proud recipient of several awards like Padma Vibhushan, Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Art and Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. He is best known for his creation ‘The Common Man’. The man continues to appear in a daily comic strip titled “You Said It” in The Times of India since 1951.
K. Shankar Pillai, a highly celebrated Indian cartoonist, was better known by his pen name Shankar. He is credited as the father of political cartooning in the country and was born in the year 1902. He started Shankar’s Weekly, India’s Punch in 1948 and never looked back. It was only during emergency that he had to close down the magazine after which he devoted his niche to making children laugh. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1976 and is also remembered for the setting up Children’s Book Trust and Shankar’s International Dolls Museum.